Tag Archives: camera

featured picture

Introduction to a new series: “How to take self-portraits”

I have finally decided to start a series of posts about how to take self-portraits. btw, this post is long, so please grab a coffee/tea and enjoy! I was writing it for almost 3 days!!! 

I am not a pro. I do not claim I am one. I am still learning and I hope to learn even more by doing this series.

The 365 Self-Portrait Project has taught me how to overcome a few obstacles that many people come across when they want to start taking self-portraits:

-          Lack of remote

-          Not having a tripod (I have one but believe me, in 366 days of 2012 I used it less than 10 times)

-          Having two kids around all the time

-          Low self-esteem/Shyness

-          Posing

-          Creativity (lack of it, I meant)

-          Boring life

-          Lack of time (how can you have a boring life and a lack of time at the same time?)

I could think off a few more things but as for now those are the biggest problems I remember I encountered at the beginning. I still have some issues with those things, believe me. I do struggle with focus, what probably will force me to get a remote in a few weeks (I already found one that I would want to get). I do struggle with creativity and my posing sucks; I do have a funny story to tell about it, though.   

Having taken on this project (365 Self-Portraits in one year), in a very difficult time of my life has given me something than many self-portrait artists don’t have to go through while creating their portraits.

This past year was terribly hectic. I was pregnant, and then I wasn’t. I was mother of one child, then all of a sudden I had two of them. I was ok with my pregnant body and I really enjoyed to take photographs of pregnant me, but after the baby was born, immediately, I got very aware of my post-pregnant shapes, and jumping in front of the camera was the last thing I wanted to do.

With two little kids, where one is a “never wanting to let off the booby” kind, it was even harder to get creative or be on my own, in peace and quiet, having all the free time, trying this or that, until I am happy with the shot. I actually had limited time, limited opportunities, and limited energy (VERY limited energy). Many pictures were taken “on the run”, literally. My camera was always around and I would take it every single place we went. I just couldn’t afford to lose a good opportunity to take a self-portrait while doing…, well, while doing anything.

As a family we do not have very active social life so we are not in many situations that other people would take a photo of us and our kids together FOR us. Even if … I am always not very happy with pictures that strangers take for us while we are out and about. I hate that most people do not know how to handle a DSLR set on MANUAL. My camera is always on MANUAL, so if I forget to change it or at least explain a few things to the person it means that most of the pictures we are going to be on are overexposed or underexposed, and that somebody will be out of focus, read WE, the family, will be out of focus (and I know it from my personal experience). The outcome is predictable: those pictures are always deleted, what makes my husband really mad. And don’t you agree that those pictures always look the same. Boring. Flat. They look just like any other family portrait taken by a stranger where the only difference is the background (and outfits).

Do those pictures look boring:

what about these:

 

ok, the last example is not the best. I have to admit I did a poor job encouraging my husband to get into the picture in this project. I will have to change that this year. 

Anyway, when it is you who is in charge of taking pictures as well as posing in them you can control EVERYTHING! Don’t like it? Do it again. Something is out of focus? Re-focus and shot again. The picture is overexposed? Change the settings and DO IT AGAIN. Don’t like the perspective/angle? Move the camera, refocus, check the settings, and take a few more pictures. You can repeat the process until you’re happy with at least one photo. Sometimes it takes time but the more you do it the better you get in doing it right in less time. At the end it is you and only you who decide how much of you people are going to see.

The thing is, if you do it on your own, in your own time frame, surrounded by things you like, and maybe listening to a favorite music, you will feel more comfortable to just be yourself in front of the camera. To make a goofy face, to have a natural smile, to be more playful, or romantic, etc. The sky’s the limit.

 

Being honest with you, I do not have the entire plan for this series lined up in front of me. It’s not like I already have done the creative thinking and I have written all the topics and dates for them. NO. To make a good and informative post with a few examples and explanations I need time – sometimes I don’t have it (time), that’s why I don’t promise to publish “one post a week” with a new topic on how to take self-portraits. I will try to do my best, though. I think, it probably will be one post a month.

I enjoy doing it and I do it because I want to do it, not because I must do it. I want it to stay that way. I want to keep it healthy. Healthy for me. I had been through a period where blogging, getting comments and new followers would take over my personal life, my mood. I based my happiness on the number of comments and visitors to my blog. So no, I will not allow myself to slip into the same situation again.

You have to be aware; this is different from just taking a self-portrait and posting it here with a few words describing the photo. This series is my next challenge. Normally photography is a very intuitional process to me. Here, in order to explain things I’ll try to go into more technical parts of this process: f-stops, ISO, light, post-processing, lenses.

It is going to be a self-educating process. If there is one person out there who will learn something from it as well, I’ll be thrilled.

So please, if you don’t understand something I am going to talk about, just be patient and ask questions. It doesn’t hurt to ask and it could teach both sides (me and you) something new. I appreciate all the questions. I do want to help women to get out of the closet and be comfortable with their own images, no matter what age and shapes.  

To stay updated with each post from this series you can simply follow this blog, my Facebook page or Twitter, but being honest with you, I am not a Twitter person. I tweet rarely, and mostly those are updates from my posts, nothing else. The best way to stay in touch is to follow my Facebook Page.

I will not be giving any assignments or self-portrait themes, and I am not going to create link-ups. If some of my posts inspire you to go out there and to experiment with self-portraits, I encourage you to come back to my blog and leave a link to your post with self-portraits in the comments section of the most recent post from this series.

To check which is the latest post from this series if you just mouse over the button where is says “Self-Portraits”. Do not click on it. A small list will show up. 

screenshot 1

Now there is only one thing:  “365+1 Self-Portrait Project”. Clicking on it will take you to the whole year of my self portraits. Post after post. 

After this post is published I’m going to add one more option: “How to take self-portraits”. Clicking on it will take you to posts from this series ONLY. 

screenshot 2

 

My next post, actually first in which I give some real advice, not just plain talk, about “how to” take self-portraits is almost ready and will be up on the blog next week. I am going to talk about achieving reasonable good focus without using the remote, as well as how to do it all without a tripod. 

 So lets the fun begin! 

 

mom photographer, self-portrait, featured picture

365 Self-Portrait Project (week 39th)

What a normal week we’ve had.

One day at a time; that’s how I live these days.

It works.

365/267

For sometime now I’ve been thinking about putting up a post or a series of posts about self-portraits. I’ve received many emails as well as many comments asking questions about this project, about lenses I use, about camera I use, about places, time, if I use tripod, if I use remote, from where I get the courage to get in front of the camera each day, the ideas, etc.

I wrote and essay about this project for Bonbon Break, which will be publish on the 8th, and while writing it I just realized that sharing my story and my experience might be a help for many women out there, who are as afraid of being photographed as I used to be.  The essay for Bonbon Break is more like the one I wrote for World Moms Blog.

I’ve learned a lot since I started this project and it wouldn’t hurt if I share this knowledge.

So, I want to ask you, if you think it is a good idea to put together something like that. Would you want to read it? Would that interest you?!

I am not saying I would do it right away. First I need to finish this project in order to feel like I can teach/coach/guide somebody else. 

365/268

On Saturday we went to a b-day party where in a quiet office-room I would breastfeed my Little One.

365/269

On Sunday I’d played with No. 2 who likes to be close to me. She is getting better in playing on her own but she is the happiest when I am near by, within her reach.

365/270

As our No.1 says: “you wanna play blocks?

Yes. I want to play blocks, my dear. Lets play and let your sister play, too. Ok?

She’s got some sharing issues lately, so we’ve been working on them.

by the way, No.2 is extremely aware of the camera. She is only 5 months old (ok, almost 6), and whenever she sees me with the camera she transforms into this smiley, lovely darlin who looks like an angel, like a “zen baby”, as my friend named her. It’s unbelievable.

Photo Art Friday

365/271

That day I’ve tried to take a different photo but what I ended up with were those two. As my friend said: Big Ewa (yep, that’s my name) and Little Ewa. Does she really look like me?! I don’t see that.

365/272

It’s been ages since I write something in my journal. Actually after finishing my last one I just stopped writing a new one. With all the blogging and photographing and being a parent I just didn’t have the time for it, and I think, I just had lost interest in writing; the real writing, writing in Polish, writing the real thoughts, the raw thoughts without having to think about the audience. You know what I mean.

About two weeks ago I picked up one of my empty notebooks and started writing.

Those are not very happy words, but to write them down helps.

365/273

One of those shots: “Ok, let’s do it as quick as possible and be done for the day. Turn right, snap. Thank you very much!

I wish you all a wonderful day.

Give me your best shot at Better in BulkPhotoStory Fridaythe long road

365 Self-Portrait Project (week 16)

Last week was pretty stressful for me.

365/106

Last Friday I had my stitches removed and the same day we were told our Little Sleeping Beauty is loosing too much weight. It made the post-pregnant and still very emotional myself very upset. Today everything is back to normal and we are all happy again :)

365/107

On Saturday while trying to take some shots I had to deal with my daughter running back and forth in front of the camera. This is the best shot I ended up with. Pretty much the perfect shot for Urban Muser’s theme for this month: “shake it out” ;)

Photo Art Friday365/108

I love my camera. Can you tell.

I have more shots from this “session” that I plan to put together as one separate post. I probably will write it sometime this week.

Most of my self-portraits are very spontaneous. I do not think about them. I just go with my day as it comes and in a particular moment when I remember about this project or when I think I’m doing something that’s worth to be captured I just take my camera and shoot.

Sometimes when I’m totally out of ideas I take the camera, point it at myself and start shooting until I get something that’s interesting or until I get tired :)

365/109

Enjoying our quiet time.

It’s crazy how our Little Not Eating Enough Girl in one week has turned into Not Wanting to Sleep and Eating Every 10 minutes. Today I can’t have anything done without me holding her while: 

making breakfast,

coffee,

lunch

doing laundry,

or simply hearing her screaming for some attention or my boob ;)

Better this than me trying to wake her up for every feeding with no success and her loosing weight because of that.

365/110

We’re having pretty nice weather lately and I try to sit on the sun from time to time to give some vitamin D to our newborn who still has some jaundice.

365/111

Watching cartoons, “Cat in the Hat”, and eating breakfast: avocado-dates-peanut butter pudding.

365/112

For quite sometime I had planned to avoid shots where my stomach is shown.

Then I thought: That’s ridiculous! I just had a baby so why should I be ashamed of my body. There is nothing wrong with it.

btw, I was making delicious apple cupcakes 

Not the best but pretty good :)

365/113

This should be called “The things I never wear”.

It’s been SOOOOOOOOOOOOO long I had some nice necklace or a nice high heel shoes on me.

I actually do not wear hight heels but I have a few pairs, just in case.

In The Picture

Self-Portrait 365 Project (week 11th)

 
 

… I barely made it this week.

I am not thinking about leaving this project but it seems like if nothing will change it might happen. I don’t want that to happen because I really enjoy it. It became a part of my everyday life.

Will see.

So far I keep going and this is what I took this last week.

365/72

Yep, I am a Nikon Girl and nothing is going to change it :)

365/73

My daughter playing with my hair, actually pulling it really hard. That was painful but worth the picture :)

365/74

On Monday I had a doctor’s appointment and I think that her asking me about contractions and talking about early labor put something in my head because a few hours after we left I went to an early labor. I didn’t know that it was happening then so we waited till the next day.

365/75

Counting my contractions. It appeared that I wrote down only one in about 4 contractions that were happening every hour. I was told that in the hospital where we finally got late in the afternoon.

365/76

We got home from the hospital a little after midnight. The next day I got up and my husband went to pick up our daughter from a friend’s house. She stayed there for the night and I really appreciate that. It made everything much easier.

Two more self-portraits from that day and a story what happened in the hospital here.

365/77

I call this picture  “Bed rest”. I sit on the bed for a few minutes every day – resting ;)

365/78

Beautiful weather today. After I’ve taken a few shots I got a contraction (actually a few) so I had to stop and go with what I had taken.

I keep my fingers crosse that next week on Friday I’ll have at least 7 more pictures for this project to share them with you.

Photo Art FridayChic Homeschool MamaMommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?

From “behind” to “in front of” the camera

I’ve taken many pictures of myself lately. Not because I want to, but because I need to. I’ve started to crochet and every time I make something the best way to display it is to put it on a person. In my case it has to be me. That’s my explanation for why I’ve been so self-centered lately (like there has to be any!). For most of the time though, my selfies are headless (like this one). That way I feel comfortable :) VErY. I am never happy with pictures of myself. Most of the time I am behind the camera, and if it happens that I am on the other side… it’s just… NOT RIGHT.

The most comfortable photo session I had when I was the model (and not the photographer), was while I was pregnant. My friend was the photographer. I know her and I trust her. I was convinced she is not going to make me look ugly or at least she won’t show me those ugly photos. On the other hand I really wanted to have those pictures of me taken. Who knows how many times I’ll be pregnant. I wanted to have something to show to my daughter. I wanted to have it to keep for myself, to look back and remember.

A few months back I stumbled upon Caroline’s blog Constantly Evolving, Elena’s project “Selfie Magic”, and Jill’s project “I’m Beautiful”. Since then I’ve followed those projects never being a part of any of them, though. It just didn’t feel right. It wasn’t me.

I love Caroline for her creativity and such a natural feeling that just glows from her self-portraits. Elena and Jill are doing a great job in encouraging girls and women to switch places from “behind” to “in front” of the camera. I think it’s awesome, and more people should be doing it.

I found out about Elena’s project through Courtney from One Mom’s Perfect Imperfections. I really enjoyed her posts: “I Love Me”, “Perfection”, and a few more where she talks about self-love. In one of her posts she says:

No, I’m not a super model. (…) I am beautiful.  My daughter is beautiful.  And because I am her mom, her role model, I need to hold on to that confidence that I have gained through stepping in front of the camera and pass it down to my daughter.  It’s okay to feel beautiful.  It’s okay to be different.  I’m not a size 4 nor will I ever be.  I have freckles.  I am starting to form lines and wrinkles around my eyes.  I have stretch marks and a cesarean scar.  And it’s all okay.  While I’m no Jennifer Aniston, no Cindy Crawford, etc. I am me and I.  AM.  BEAUTIFUL.  I want my daughter to be infected with this knowledge and use it.  Share it.  Just because you’re different does not mean you are not beautiful.  We are ALL beautiful in our own right.

I totally understand it. My husband reminds me all the time that we need to be strong for our daughter, we need to be her role models, we need to teach her. If we don’t feel self-confident, if we don’t feel good about ourselves, if we don’t like ourselves… it will all be reflected in our daughter’s life. We as parents need to be strong for her. I want to be strong for her.

There is so much truth in Courtney’s words:

Fast forward a couple of days and Elena, Courtney K. and myself are having a chat on Twitter about selfies and how it will be nice that our kids have these pictures of us in the future.  How very true.  I am ALWAYS behind the camera.  If there are ANY pictures of myself during a family vacation it’s because I forced the camera into my husband’s hand to take one picture.  One.  And there are a couple of hundred of my kids and my husband with the kids.  And the conversation continued to include how we all wished we’d had more pictures of our mothers when they were younger.

I’ll add that it would be great to have those pictures of ourselves just for ourselves. To see and remember that we were young, and so pretty. I remember days from highschool and college. I thought I am not the ugliest girl, neither I liked myself. I didn’t. I thought I’m too fat, not tall enough, my hair is terrible, and the list go on… . Today I look at those few pictures that I have from those days and I think: “Gosh, I looked so pretty, so young. What was wrong with me?”  I regret I do not have many pictures from those days.

Today there is not a lot that has changed. I still think the same way. I even added a few extra things to complain about: grey hair, wrinkles, and after pregnancy shaped body. I still think that the best picture of me is the headless one and this is the best example:

That’s why I like so much to read and look at Jasmine Star’s blog, and webpage. She’s got some talent, but for the most of the time I like to look at the pictures of her. I love her intro to her webpage. She is not afraid of what she is. She’s presenting herself and her style, and after that follows her photography. Love it!

Going back to my selfies.

Yesterday I started shooting pictures of my new crochet creations and didn’t know when I noticed I was taking pictures more of myself than of my earings.lol

We all think, or many of us, that taking pictures of ourselves is very selfish, narcissistic and shallow. In many cases I think that’s exactly what’s behind self-portraits. Through Elena’s, Jill’s, and Caroline’s projects I saw a different side of it. I read many blog’s posts where women talked about their attempts to self-portraits and their struggles, and day by day I felt more and more ready to try it. To try it and to feel comfortable while doing it. I am not sure if I was comfortable, but at least I had fun… .

I still think that the best photographer for taking pictures of me is… myself… . I’ll stick with that for now… because every time somebody else is taking picture of me it’s more likely I’ll end up with THAT grin:

Give me your best shot at Better in BulkPhotoStory Friday UndertheTableandDreaming

I met a dog today…

Little (I mean: small), loooong, black and white, sometimes loud but most of all… veeeery cute!  I took many pictures of him, because it was hard not to.

When I saw him I just couldn’t resist. I had take my camera out and snap some pictures. He didn’t like the camera, though… but a few doggy treats did the job… as you can see :-)

and I wasn’t sure which one to use for this post because I really like both…

Most of my pictures of him came up really dark; too dark. I had to “hire” my beloved GIMP, as always irreplaceable ;-)

Linkin up with Touch Up Tuesday:

Touch Up Tuesday's at the Paper Mama

BEFORE the edit

Adjusted color levels and…

… and added LOMO “script” (for photshop users “action”)

And there he is.

Isn’t he cute !?!?!

But the best is yet to come!

At the end

he gave me

that

BIG SMILE!!!

 

 

 

hugs from my corner, everybody!

Foto Macro Friday!

Magical Macro! I love macro! I’ve been waiting for this macro Friday all week. Didn’t know what I’ll shoot though. Woke up this morning still having no idea for today’s macro… I knew I have this snail shoots from yesterday, but still wanted to take some different shots today!

My husband found this little guy on our patio… I said: ślimak ślimak pokaż rogi dam Ci sera na pierogi... But it didn’t work… aparently snails don’t speak Polish in here … what was I thinking!?

I do not have any fancy macro lens… just my   52mm 0.45x wide angle & macro. This little macro cap is not that easty to operate. It’s not stable. It’s very very VERY sensitve to any movements. Most of my macro shots are not sharp because of that… my hand is always shaking… and even a little bit is always a little bit too much with that thing… but still… it’s better than nothing. Right?!

My-self-portrait-reflected

Peeking outside this morning I saw our plants all wet from the sprinklers that shouldn’t be on today… Hm… I saw those drops and I went crazy… OMG… I could see in my head the macro shots… Oh well I have to admit… it didn’t turn out how I imagined… but I’m pretty happy with what I got! Enjoy!

Give me your best shot at Better in BulkPhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli


For more macro shots (if you interested) go to Blogging from Bolivia.

 

Pregnant belly, great food, and a good time!!!

More and more often I understand when somebody says he/she doesn’t have the time to take pictures for him/herself…

From the last Monday I’ve been sitting here… in my pyjamas… barely eating, drinking a lot of coffee, and green tea, cooking only when I have to… when I really HAVE TO… . Did I cook yesterday!? Hmmm… What was I doing except editing my photos yesterday… Hm… nothing! I’m kind of tired… And I need a break… Our place is a mess… A MESS. And I’m hungry, and I need to go to the bathroom… but there are so many pictures…, and I’ve got an idea(s)!!! and…, and… and…!!!

I’m not complaining!!! I’m really enjoying it :-)

And no… I didn’t forget that I have a child to feed, to read to, to bath with :-) (the funniest part),  and to change the diapers for. She stinks too much to not to notice her… ;-) She is a little stinker, honestly. She is a great companion, too. She went with me to photograph a mom-to-be, and this is what she was doing:

We had put her to work even, and she didn’t like the idea at first. She is a happy camper normally, so a few words of assuring her that she DOES NOT have to go back inside this big belly, and she was back herself… Happy Poppy Pants!

… and this is that belly which carries the twins…

Their life is about to make the 180 turn!!! and I am not jealous about it. I used to take care of twins… and I know… ;-)

But beside our photo session our mom-to-be fed us with an amazingly delicious eastern european cuisine!

BARSZCZ (home-made)

NALEŚNIKI (home-made)

and something that’s very similar to PIEROGI, but much smaller, and with chicken filling. Good that I’m a pseudo-vegetarian! ;-)

:-)

 

How very early morning walk saved me…

… from going insane! or maybe it’s not over yet! At least I pushed it away for a while…

at 7 am after being awake for 3 hours… (fell asleep at midnight just to get up a few times between then and 4 am) I’d packed my camera, cup of HOT coffee and proceeded the act of leaving my place… Beautiful morning!!! A little bit chilly, it didn’t matter to me, though.

I sat down on the bench at the park. Had a few sips of coffee, took some pictures…

I was really surprised how busy the park is at 7 am… I really admire all those people walking, running, exercising so early… They’re some awesome! I’d love to get back to running, someday… or at least  walking, gym(ing)… ;-) whatever… something…

While walking I’d been thinking that if somebody told me I’m not allowed to play with my camera, and I have to stop taking pictures, and start to live without it… I would’ve killed him/her… and then myself… !!! It’s the only thing that keeps me sane… It listens to me, it does what I ask for… (sometimes I do not know how that damn thing works that’s why we experience some misunderstandings), it doesn’t cry, it doesn’t yell, eat, pee, or poop. It doesn’t make mess and it doesn’t hurt my feelings. I don’t have to speak any goddamn language to be understood. It helps me to feel better about myself when everything else let me down…  When the world around me gets sooo crazy that I can’t stand it anymore… walk and the camera – it’s all I need to get on track… to get better… to feel relieved… to smile again…

I’m So Grateful for all those People who gave me the chance to stay so creative!!! You’ve saved my life MANY MANY times since I got my last camera from you guys!!!

Just figured out what my problem is…

I know I was complaining about not being able to drink hot teas or coffees lately.
I figured it out why…

Yestarday after our Little Turtle went to bed for her nap I ran to the kitchen to make myself a cup of green tea. Happy I’ll be able to drink it HOT, finally! I hate cold tea. Especialy I hate cold coffee. I’m not talking about ice coffee, but simply cold coffee that was supposed to be drank a half hour ago, but… and there is a long list of what had to be done before I got to that cup standing abandoned on the table or wherever I left it…

… and I made it. BIG cup! I know it says soup… I forgot to say that I like my tea BIG, too! (and my coffee). I couldn’t find cup big enough for my taste and when I finally found it they were a soup bowls. I bought two… :-)

When the tea was done I started taking pictures of it. I peeked outside and I saw our grapefruit tree with the one and the only one grapefruit on it ;-)

When I was outside taking pictures of the fruit I saw that we’ve got some little tomatoes growing in here… How could I not have taken some photos of this phenomena. It’s January and we’ve got tomatoes ;-) I love living in California.

I went inside and started uploading pictures to my computer, and then I saw my tea – luke warm. Yuck!!!
I just can’t do one thing at a time. I always have to run around the house like in some kind of big mission. Like everything has to be done right now, and not a minute later. Like my life depends on it. Like I can’t put my ass on the sofa for just 10 minutes and RELAX and ENJOY myself when I can.

And those goddamned pictures ;-)

At the end… I just love it!

But I would’ve loved it even more if I could drink my tea hot.